V8 DIRT MODIFIED
With the second half of his 2018-19 season being hampered by electrical issues, Andrew Firth couldn’t have picked a better time to rectify these woes, experiencing an 11th hour comeback last Saturday night on home soil at Grafton Speedway which landed him in victory lane.
The season had gotten off to a stellar start for the Grafton, NSW local, who opened his winning account back in October, picking up his first feature-race win of the season in the Clarence Valley Spring Cup and quickly backing it up to win the Stampede event, both of which took place at his home track.
It wasn’t until after the Australian Championship at Toowoomba’s Hi-Tec Oils Speedway, where he came home in ninth place, that Firth began to experience problems aboard his 358ci powered NSW # 51 Penrite backed Bicknell car; problems which continued to hinder the rest of his 2018-19 season campaign.
Arriving at Grafton Speedway last Saturday night, Firth was disappointed to learn that the electrical dramas were still present after his hot lap session. However, determined to find the issue prior to his opening heat race, Firth and his team managed to do exactly that, crossing their fingers in the hope that these complications were behind them.
Thankfully, it appeared that Firth’s fortune had changed as he steadily progressed throughout his heat races, placing ninth, fifth and first. While these results saw him sitting third in the point standings, Firth went on to record the fastest lap in the top-five shootout, securing him pole position for the ensuing 25-lap feature race.
Taking control of the lead from the drop of the green flag, Firth looked poised to claim the victory, until a late-race mishap saw him hit a rut and drift towards the top of the track, opening the door for Grafton's Chris Polsen to get under him and steal the lead. However, with Firth quickly regaining his composure, Polsen couldn’t quite fend him off, with Firth powering back into the lead and going on to record his third feature-race win of the season.
“It’s definitely been a tough second half of the season, but it’s a great feeling to overcome the problems we’ve been having in such a big way to come away with our third win,” commented Firth, whose other season highlights include finishing just off the podium in fourth at Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway back in November.
“It just goes to show that you can’t give up when you’re presented with a challenge and I’m really proud of the team and how we rallied to get these problems sorted.”
Photo: 44 Photography
Joining her dad on track last Saturday night, Firth’s daughter Taylah completed what was only her second ever run in Open competition, having competed as a Novice for a handful of race meetings as she made her introduction to the class this season. Continuing to build on her confidence, Taylah’s pace has improved significantly, as evident in last Saturday night’s lap times, which were a full five seconds quicker than the lap times she was recording at the beginning of the season.
For his final appearance of the season, Firth will be piloting Taylah’s NSW # 15 Penrite supported Bicknell this Sunday at Dubbo’s Morris Park Speedway in the Sportsman event.
Firth Motorsport would like to thank their 2018-19 season sponsors: Penrite, Grafton City Batteries, Hession’s Auto Parts, North Coast Engines, Speedway Stickers and Cleavers Mechanical Repairs.
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